Publishing House:Thomas Nelson
Date of Publication:October 1st 2019
”Some say that ever ‘gainst that reason
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrate,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long.
And then, they say, no evil spirit walks;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets
No fairy tales, no witch hath power to
So hallowed and so gracious is the time.”
Christmas is the time for classics. It is a chance to communicate with tradition and the nostalgia of the past (both of which are being demonized by the modern social-media guided society but don’t get me started on that…). It is a time to visit stories of warmth and sharing, of light making the darkness more bearable and for this we’d need the help of good old classics (which are also being vilified of late because we’re ignorant of their importance…) Nothing says ”literary Christmas” than a collection of short stories and poems dedicated to the message of the birth of Hope.
These are stories of characters that have found themselves in dire situations. Whether by poverty, jealousy, bad behaviour, ambitions or by the mischievous deeds of their cold hearts, they are in serious need of hope and change. Naturally, the first story that comes to our minds is Charles Dickens’ s A Christmas Carol, the masterpiece that shaped Christmas festivities. It is completely justified that this collection begins with our beloved Scrooge’s story of spirits and remorse.
In Tilly’s Christmas by Louisa May Alcott, a young girl’s kindness overcomes poverty and hardships in a moving tale of the strong bond between children and animals, and the warmth of good deeds in the heart of winter. In Tessa’s Surprises, the joyful melody of the carols fills Tessa’s Christmas with happiness and hope.
In Lucy Maud Montgomery’s The Christmas Surprise at Enderly Road, a Christmas feast helps two families bury the hatchet and start new, and a teenage girl discovers the true meaning of Christmas gifts in Clorinda’s Gifts. Hans Christian Andersen narrates the beloved, moving tale of a fir tree that wanted to live.
My personal favourite story in the beautiful collection is Betty’s Bright Idea by Harriet Beecher Stowe, a tale of Christmas blessings in the vibrant metropolis of New York during the 1870s, the kindness of a wealthy young woman and the presence of the Three Wise Men.
Eight classic Christmas poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Margaret Deland, Libbie C. Baer, Anna De Brémont, and the following favourites provide the finest closure.
”’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney
In hopes that St. Nickolas soon would be there;”
A Visit From St. Nickolas by Clement Clarke Moore
”And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David’s throne.”
The Three Kings by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
”Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing moon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show
For Christmas bringeth Jesus
Brought for us so low”
Christmas Eve by Christina Rossetti
These times are too loud. Too much shouting, blaming, judging. Inadequate education, plenty of rudeness, even more audacity. Thankfully, many of us feel fortunate to live in a world where Christmas is celebrated. And it will always be celebrated.
”Do we ever think, when we walk those busy, bustling streets, all alive with Christmas shoppers, and mingle with the rushing tides that throng and jostle through the stores, that unseen spirits may be hastening to and from along those same ways bearing Christ’s Christmas gifts to men- gifts whose value no earthly gold or gems can represent?”